This weekend was very difficult for me. A small party Husband and I hosted on Saturday night celebrating two birthdays and an engagement ended up sputtering to a halt at 10:30 when I kicked my friends out of the house; I was in too much pain to hold a conversation. Super Bowl Sunday was a party Husband went to without me. I stayed home, high on Vicodin and watching the Puppy Bowl (the latter of which is a noble endeavor). My neck and shoulders have been seizing badly. I’ve always thought of it like Silly Putty. If you pull it apart too quickly, it snaps; if you yank it with a tad less force, it pulls apart… just managing to stay connected as it stretches. That’s what my spasms feel like: My muscles are giant wads of pink Silly Putty that spasm and then s-l-o-w-l-y stretch.
So I have to arm myself with whatever I can find that has the ability to help me get through tough times. What are my go-to items?
- Cryoderm: I’ve tried a number of topical creams, everything from Bengay to emu oil. I like this one the best because a.) I can alternate between heating and cooling roll-ons, and b.) it’s much less messy than other products.
- FLA back brace: designed by women, for women. The thing about other lumbar back braces is that they’re made for men or women who are shaped like 12-year-old boys. I’ve gone through a plethora of back braces, like the Jewett brace, thoracic support, you name it. This one covers both the lumbar and part of the thoracic region, and actually follows the shape of a woman’s curves. You know what that means? It stays where I strap it, and it doesn’t ride up to my rack six times a day!
- 10-foot yoga strap: not only can I use this to do some stretches during the day, but I can fashion it into a makeshift thoracic brace to take pressure off my neck. It rolls up and fits into my bag. Thus, I can take it everywhere.
- Clarks shoes: I haven’t been able to wear high heels without significant pain for more than a decade. Clarks made a number of super-cute shoes that are supportive and don’t look like drunken Crocs. They don’t make many of this sort anymore, but Clarks produced a certain style of shoe with a sole that I can’t find anywhere else. It feels so much better on my spine than other shoes, even Dr. Scholl’s. Somehow their ergonomic design makes for much less impact when I walk.
- Cervical pillow: If I don’t have this with me to sleep on, I don’t sleep. Having my head sink into a donut takes a lot of pressure off my neck. It doesn’t hurt whether I sleep on my back or side, which is dandy since at night I roll around like a beached whale trying to get back into the ocean.
- Bonus item: cat. Did you know that purring occurs at a frequency that promotes bone density and healing?